WTO: 2010 NEWS ITEMS

DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Programme
Summary of presentations

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Recent work has included calculations of the value of rule-making and other aspects of the Doha Round that are not normally expressed in numbers. For example for “trade facilitation” (negotiations to cut red tape and streamline customs procedures), a 1% improvement in indicators representing transparency and predictability could increase trade in manufactured products by 0.7%, the workshop heard.

The ranges of figures reflect different assumptions about the calculations and about governments’ reactions, such as how much they use flexibilities allowing them to dilute liberalization.

Some economists also warned of the harm failure to reach a deal might cause. The most pessimistic scenario is the most protectionist one that is still legal under present WTO rules, without a Doha Round deal. If governments closed their markets for goods and services to the maximum allowed under their present commitments (going to the highest tariffs legally bound in the WTO, and the minimum market opening they committed in services), this could slash world trade in goods and services by almost 10%, the workshop heard.

“ The hard work that governments have put into this round during the past nine years of negotiations has resulted in some remarkable achievements. Implementation of the gains already achieved would deliver a trading system that is more equitable, more efficient and more effective,” Director-General Pascal Lamy concluded.

“Quite apart from the numbers on the specific parts of the package, and we have seen and heard quite a few sets of figures today, there are also the systemic benefits to the deal in front of us today,” he said.

“ But the numbers cannot substitute for a colletive sense of determination needed to conclude this round. There is a strong message that reaching a deal can send to the public and to the markets — even in times of crisis governments can and do work together to accomplish important things.”

The workshop on “recent analyses of the Doha Round” was organized jointly by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

Its purpose was to take a look at recent work seeking to evaluate the trade policy changes that might be in prospect from a completed Doha Round and what the impact of the changes would be.

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